Ecuador is a unitary country that has 4 decentralized autonomous governments (GAD) at the regional, provincial, municipal and parish levels, which are constitutionally recognized with financial, political, and administrative autonomy.
Starting in 2008, a series of important reforms were carried out in the country for decentralization and the functioning of the different subnational levels of government.
Municipal governments are the main actors for the application of local taxes, with a variety of taxes that apply to property and real estate and the contribution of general and specific improvements.
The municipalities also have a transfer system, which represents the main source of income for most municipalities, made up of transfers from: i) permanent and non-permanent income, ii) to finance new responsibilities and iii) to compensate the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources.
Additionally, local governments have access to external income: such as the constitutionally recognized, decentralized cooperation to finance functions, public indebtedness, public-private contracts, and foreign investment.
In Ecuador, the legal system formed by the Constitution of the Republic (2008) establishes a system where the responsibilities of the Ecuadorian State are shared, including actions related to territorial planning, which is made mandatory. Activities are redistributed among the different administrative political entities of the country: central government, regions, provinces, cantons, and parishes.